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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 22, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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but i didn't conduct the business that i did primarily on e-mail. that is not how i gathered information, assessed information, asked the hard questions of the people that i worked with with. >> it appears leaving benghazi with respect to all of that danger, leaving benghazi was not an option in 2012. and i yield back. >> if i could just quickly respond, never a recommendation from any intelligence official in our government, from any official in the state department, or from any other person with knowledge of our presence in benghazi to shut down benghazi even after the two attacks that the compound suffered. and perhaps you would wonder why. but i can tell you it was thought that the mission in benghazi, in conjunction with the cia mission, was vital to our national interest. >> the gentlelady yields back.
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>> very much, mr. chairman. i just want to clarify. i was asking secretary clinton a moment ago i mentioned an e-mail that had gone from ambassador chris stevens to deputy secretary lamb. what i meant to say was a cable. >> the record will reflect that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, i'm pleased that you finally have the opportunity to be here. before i start my line of questioning, i just want to clarify with regards to the april, june 2012 incidents, i believe that the procedure that the state department had for these types of incidents was to actually hold what are called emergency action committee meetings on the ground immediately. in fact, there were at least five on record for june alone in both tripoli and benghazi. that is the correct procedure
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for handling such incidents, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> my job is to make sure we never put brave americans like shawn spieth, glen dougherty, chris stevens anywhere in the world without the protection they so rightly deserve. having flown combat missions myself and in so many dangerous places, i understand the dedication of those who choose to serve our country overseas. i have a official affinity of the diplomatic core. they go in without the benefit of military might, weapons, only with american values and diplomatic words and a handshake to forward our nation's interest globally. so i am absolutely determined to make sure that we safeguard in the name of our heroic dead, our men and women in the diplomatic wars wherever they are around the world. so the bottom line for me, i'm a
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very mission-driven person. the bottom line for me is with respect examining what went wrong in benghazi is clear. let's learn from those mistakes and figure out what we need to do to fix them. i have been in congress not quite three years. i have served on two other committees that has looked at the benghazi a attacks. so i have had a chance to really look at all of these documents. one of the things that i saw, and i would like you to discuss this with you, is that the department of state and the department of defense at the time seems to have not had the most ideal cooperation when it came to security analysis. i do know, however, that over the past decade they have established working together on the ground in dangerous regions that has increased over time. however, as a member of the
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armed services committee, which also looked at the benghazi attacks, i'm concerned the inter office was not sufficient leading up to the weeks of the september 11th attacks. the katrina exercises, if we had conducted exercises, this may have helped the state and dod to identify and fix existing eventual vulnerabilities. it could have facilitieded the prepositioning of assets where there were real questions of the host country's ability to protect our diplomatic personnel. secretary clinton, within the weeks of the terrorist attacks in benghazi happening, following that, i understand you partnered with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to establish and
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deploy five inter agency security assessment teams. to assess our security posture and needs at least the 19 high threat posts in 13 different countries. in fact, deputy secretary nye testified. why did you partner with the department of defense to conduct such a high priority review and was it effective and applying it for other locations. >> congresswoman, thank you very much. your knowledge about these issues rising from your own. and the service on the committees. it is very challenging to get military assets into countries
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that don't want them there. and in fact, that has been a constant issue that we have worked between the state department and the department of defense. the libyans made it clear from the very beginning, they did not approximate want any american military or any foreign military at all in their country. and what i concluded is that we needed to have these assessments because even if we couldn't post post our own military in the country, we needed to have a faster reaction. i certainly agreed 100%. our military did everything they could. they turned over every rock. they tried to deploy as best they could to try to get to benghazi. it was beyond the geographic range. they didn't have assets nearby.
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because we don't have a lot of installations and military personnel that are in that immediately region. so following what happened in benghazi, the chairman of the joint chiefs general dempsey and i agreed to send out mixed teams of our diplomatic security and their top security experts from the defense department to get a better idea of the 19 high threat posts. and that's exactly what we did. and it gave us some guidance to try to have better planning ahead of time. i know admiral mullen testified that it would be beyond the scope of our military to be able to provide immediate reaction to 270 posts. but that's why we tried to narrow down. and of course we do get help from our military in war zones. the military has been incredibly supportive of our embassy in kabul and our embassy in baghdad. but we have a lot of hot spots
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now. and very dangerous places that are not in military conflict areas where we have american military presence. we need a fast reaction team to try to prevent what happened in benghazi. >> thank you. so this process that the joint teams of dod and state goes out initially look at the 19 posts. that's great that they come back with a report. it's kind of like the seven reports do this. now we have another committee. we can keep having committees look into benghazi. we never act on them. it doesn't help our men and women on the ground. that's what i'm focused on. with these isats, they came back with their recommendations to you. are they institutionalized? what has been done with this process so it's not a snapshot in time in reaction to benghazi attack? and i want to make sure at the
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very least they are continuing the cooperation or there is some institutionalization of the review process to make sure that if it's not those 19 posts, if the shift now is there's 20 posts or some other posts. what has been done to make sure it is institutionalized? >> well, that is one of the changes i instituted before i left. and i'm confident that secretary kerry and his counterpart, secretary carter at the defense department, are continuing that. because i think it was very useful. certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the defense department. you know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been marines. and as you know well, marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection. they were there to destroy classified material and equipment. and so part of the challenge that we have faced and some of these hot spot dangerous areas
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is how we get more of a presence. and after benghazi we were able to get marines deployed to tripoli. it is my belief that the isat process should be institutionalized and we should learn from it. >> coming from armed services, even as a young platoon leader out in a platoon, we got and read the defense quad review, a review that happens on a periodic basis. it gives the individual soldier an idea what the defense department is trying to do. and i understand you initiated something similar in the state department. >> right. >> and this goes to -- there's been discussion already about the culture at the state department, especially when it comes to security.
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i found that the department of defense review is good at instilling culture throughout the department. can you talk how and why you decided to do the review for the state department? was it useful? is it useful? is it getting out there? is it a waste of time and we shouldn't be wasting money on it and we should be doing something else? >> well, i hope it's not the latter. i learned about the quad renyel defense review in the senate during my time there. i agree with you completely, congresswoman. it is a very successful road map as to where we should be going. i'm impressed as a platoon leader it was something you too into account. when i came to the state department, there was no road map. the state department, usaid would come up and fight for the money they could get out of congress no matter who was in charge every single year. it is 1% of the speier budget.
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it was very difficult to explain effectively what it is we were trying to achieve. so it did institute the first quad republicanal diplomacy and development review. and one of the key questions we were addressing is what is is this balance between risk and reward when it comes to our diplomats and our development professionals. because the first thing i heard when i got to the state department was a litany of complaints from a lot of our most experienced diplomats that they were being ham strung. the security requirements were so intense they were basically unable to do their jobs. and of course then from the security professionals who were a all part of thishat we call the qddr, they were saying we don't want you to go beyond the fence. we can't protect you in all of these dangerous circumstances. how you balance that, and it is a constant balancing of risk and reward in terms of what we hope
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our diplomats and development professionals can do. so it's been twice now. secretary kerry, in his tenure, has done the second qddr. and i hope it becomes as important and as much of a road map as the qdr has for our defense department and our military service ises. >> thank you. i'm out of time, mr. chairman. >> thank you the gentle lady from illinois. the gentle lady from alabama, ms. roby. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> secretary clinton, some i colleagues have focused on your relationship with the ambassador chris stevens and why you sent him into benghazi in 2011 as part of your broader libya initiative. but it's not so clear from everything that we've reviewed that you had a vision in benghazi going forward into 2012 and beyond. it appears that there was confusion and uncertainly within your own department about libya. and quite frankly, secretary
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clinton, it appears that you were a large cause of that uncertainty. and we have seen all the day-to-day updates and concern early in 2011. i heard what you said to my colleague mrs. brooks. and i'll get to that in a minute. but showing that libya, and for that matter benghazi, belonged to you in 2011. it was yours, so to speak. from your own records that we have, we saw a drop in your interest in libya and benghazi in 2012. not only do the records show your drop in interest in benghazi, it was even noticed by your own staff. i want to point this out to you -- i say this i want to point you to an e-mail in early february 2012 between two staffers at your libya desk that says you didn't know whether we still even had a presence in benghazi. let's not use my words.
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let's use theirs. this can be found at tab 31. the e-mail says -- it dated february 9, 2012. one writes to the other about annen can counter she had with you. "the secretary also asked last week if we still have a presence in benghazi" i think she would be upset to hear, yes, we do. but because we don't have enough security, they are on lockdown." and i say this is very troubling to me because it raises several issues i would like to ask you about. i'm struck by the first part, "the secretary asked last week if we still have a presence in benghazi." you pointed out to mrs. brooks in her last line of questioning based on the e-mail stacks here that you engaged in a lot of conversations and briefings. so i'm assuming that this conversation with this member of
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your staff took place in one of those briefings. but then they sent this e-mail asking about this. so how can this be that two of your staffers are e-mailing about whether or not you even knew if we had a presence in benghazi in 2012 with all your and in libya in 2011, including your trip in october of 2011 and that months later we come to find out you didn't even know we had a presence there? >> well, i can't comment on what has been reported. of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i know we were evaluate issing what that presence should be, how long it should continue. and i know exactly what we were doing in libya. and i think it's important. since you have very legitimate questions about what we were doing. the united states played a role in the first election that the libyan people had in 51 years.
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it was a successful election by every count. they voted for moderates. they voted for the kind of people they wanted to govern them. we had a very successful effort that the united states supported, getting rid of gadhafi's remaining chemical weapons, which we led and supported the united nations and others to be able to do. we were combatting the proliferation of weapons. that's one of the reasons why there was a cia presence in benghazi. we were trying to figure out how to get those weapons out of the wrong hands and get them collected in a way and destroyed. and in fact, we began reducing those heavy weapon stocks. we were working on providing transition assistance to the libyans. i met with the libyans. i telephoned with the libyans. i saw the libyans all during this period. and it was hard. because a lot of them knew what they wanted, but they didn't
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know how to get from where they were to that goal. and we did an enormous amount of work. my two deputies went to libya. other officials in the state department went to libya. so there was a constant, continuing effort that i led to try to see what we could do to help. one of the problems we faced is that the libyans did not really feel that welcome a peace-keeping mission. they couldn't welcome foreign troops to their soil. that made it really difficult. and it didn't have to be american troops. it could have been troops from anywhere in the world under a u.n. mandate that might have helped them begin to secure their country. >> secretary clinton, i hear what you're saying, but this e-mail says something very different i can't speak to that. i can just tell you what i was doing, and i was doing a lot. >> this was your staff. if they had this conversation with you, why would they make it
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up? but i want to move on. but this e-mail, you know, makes me wonder about the vision for benghazi because they're asking if you -- they're saying you asked if we still had a presence. but, you know, you look at the second part of the e-mail, "and i think she would be upset to say, yes, we do. >> congresswoman, i'm sorry. i have no recollection of or no knowledge of -- >> please turn to tab 31. >> well, i trust that you have read it. but i also tell you that we had a presence in benghazi. we had members of the administration and congress visiting benghazi. so of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i can't speak to what someone either heard or misheard. but i think what's important, and i understand that the underlying point of your request question is what were we doing about libya? >> i heard that first part. >> and that's what i'm trying to
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explain to you about what we were doing. >> yes, ma'am. i want to get to the second part of the e-mail that you would have been upset to know yes, we were in lockdown. and you said on numerous occasions, including in your opening statement on point number one, america must lead and we must represent in dangerous places. "they can't do their jobs for us in bunkers." essentially what we know is that there weren't the required number of security on the ground in order for the individual to even move about the country to provide you with what you have reiterated on numerous occasions as being very important at that time, which is political reporting. >> could you tell me who are the names on the e-mail that you're talking about? >> you can turn to tab 31. you have a book in front of you. it is alice abdallah and -- i'm going to pronounce it wrong. enya sodarais.
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>> they were not on my staff. i'm not in any way contradicting what they think they heard. >> can you tell me who they were if they were not on your staff? >> they were in the state department, long with thousands of other people. they were not part of the secretary staff. but i get what you're saying, congresswoman. and i want to focus on this. i think it's a fair and important question. the facility in benghazi was a temporary facility. there had been no decision made as to whether or not it would be permanent. it was not even a consulate. our embassy was in tripoli. obviously much of the work that we were doing was going through the embassy. there was a very vigorous discussion on the part of people who were responsible for making a recommendation about benghazi as to what form of consulate, what form of facility it should be. chris stevens believed that it
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should be a formal consulate. but that was something that had to be worked out. and there had not yet been a decision at the time that the attack took place. so it was not a permanent facility. and, you know, there were a number of questions that people were asking about whether it could or should be. >> i want to drill down on the security issue. i want to say it's frustrating for us here on this panel asking these questions to hear you in your opening statement talk about the responsibility you took for all 70 plus thousand employees. but i read an e-mail between two of those employees and it seems you're brushing it off as not having any knowledge. >> i am saying i have no recollection of it and it doesn't correspond with the facts of what we were doing on a regular basis. >> i want to talk about security. i have a few seconds left. in 2011, during the revolution,
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then envoy stevens had 10 agents with him on the ground in benghazi. and then we know in 2012 where the security situation had deteriorated even further, there were only three-eighths assigned to benghazi. again, can't even move anybody off of the facility to do the necessary political reporting. and my question is, you know, why did you not acknowledge, because of your interest in 2011, the importance of having those security officers there to do what was so important to you, which was the political reporting then in 2011, 2010, and when an am bass doctor was there, three, and he brought two of his own the night of the attack, which would meet the requisite five. but there were only three there at any given time. >> well, he did have five with him on september 11th. >> well, he brought two, right?
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there were three there. >> right. >> but the fact was they were personal security. so they were there to secure him. yes, he did bring two. when he got there, he had five. the day before september 10th he went in to benghazi. he went to a luncheon with leading civic leaders, business leaders in benghazi. so he felt very comfortable. it was his decision. ambassadors do not have to seek permission from the state department to seek travel around the country that they are assigned to. he decided to go to benghazi by taking two security officers with him and three there, he had the requisite five that had been the discussion between the embassy and the state department security professionals. i'm not going to in any way
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suggest that he or the embassy got everything they requested. we know that they didn't from the accountability review board, by investigations done by the congress. we know that there were a lot of discussions about what was needed, particularly in benghazi. and that the day that he died he had five security officers. a lot of security professionals who have reviewed this matter, even those who are critical, that the state department did not do enough have said that the kind of attack that took place would have been very difficult to repel. that's what we have to learn from, congresswoman. there are many lessons going back to beirut, tehran and going all the way through these years. sometimes we learn lessons and we actually act and we do the
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best we can. and there's a perfect terrible example of that with respect to what happened in benghazi. >> certainly. and my time has expired. we will certainly never know what the outcome would have been if there had been more agents that night. >> that's not what the professionals and security and experts have concluded if you have read the abilitiabilit acc >> i have read it. and it says security was grossly in adequate. >> it pint pointed out that the diplomatic security officers that were there acted heroic alley. there was not single question about what they did. they were overrun. it was unfortunate that the agreement we had with the cia annex and when those brave men showed up that it was also not enough.
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>> certainly. we'll discuss this more. i have to yield back. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just to clarify, you knew we had a presence. >> i know, congressman, of course. >> going back to your earlier question, you were aware of the two attacks on your compounds even though you didn't e-mail about it. >> yes, i was aware. >> after 17 months and $17 million, as the ranking member pointed out in his opening statements, this committee is simply not doing its job. and i don't really think it should have been formed in the first place. what we have heard -- first of all, the e-mail. the idea that two fairly junior level staffers might not have gotten something wrong in what they heard or the information in an e-mail might, in fact, not be
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accurate are certainly not things that should be news to anybody. but it is the obsession with the e-mails that takes us off what should have been the task of this committee. i also find it interesting that mr. obi's comment were to quote the a.r.b. quote. we absolutely had to have it. it was important for the congress to do the investigations they did. all of that begs the question as to why we have spoeupbt $4.7 billion we have spent on this. in the chairman's opening remarks, it was primarily defense of the committee's existence. not any new information. not here's what we, in those 17 months and $4.7 million have figured out that is new and different. nothing. in fact, we have heard nothing. even in today's hearing. not a single solitary thing that hasn't already been discussed repeatedly. so we have learned absolutely nothing. yes, we have uncovered a trove of new information.
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in this age, i don't think there's ever an end to e-mails. we could go on another two years and probably find more. the question is what we found anything substantively that tells us something different about what happened in benghazi? the answer to that question is no. look, i didn't think this committee should have been formed in the first place. but if it was going to be formed the least we could do is to actually focus on the four brave americans who were killed, why they were killed, and focus on benghazi. and we have not. mr. ruskin's questions were the most interesting. it was like he wanted running for president. he wanted to debate you ohy . . them
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and the ranking member of the armed services committee, i don't see the department of defense here. i don't see the cia here. there were many, many other agencies involved in this. and yet yours has been the one they have obsessively focused on. and i think that's a shame for a whole lot of reasons. for one thing, this committee, as it has been in the news the last several weeks, has been one more step in denigrating this issue. not less. so i wish we would stop doing that. and you mentioned beirut, and that was the first thought that occurred to me when this happened, was a democratic congress at the time did a fair and quick investigation of what was an unspeakable tragedy, two separate suicide bombings, four months apart, and there was clearly inadequate security. but the focus there was not on partisanship, not on embarrassing the reagan
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administration, but in actually figuring out what happened and how we can better protect americans. now, i want to talk and ask questions about what i think is the central issue. and that is, how do we have that presence in the world that you described in what is an increasingly dangerous world? because as i've traveled to pakistan and afghanistan, yemen and other places, i'm consistently amazed by the willingness of our diplomatic corps to put their lives at risk. i wonder how do you balance that very difficult decision. because frankly, what i've heard more often from that diplomatic corps is that they chafe at the restrictions. i remember vividly being in peshawar. i didn't like the ride from the airport to the embassy, which was ten minutes. we were there for a few hours, then out. the state department personnel, they lived there and went out amongst the community. how do you try and strike that balance of, you know, being
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present and at the same time meeting the security obligations? and then, most of the importantly, who drives that decision? because it seems to me in most instances it is driven by the diplomatic corps there. if they take risks, it's because they've decided to do it. they're there. they know the security situation, certainly better than the secretary, and better than most everybody else. what is the proper way to strike that balance going forward, to protect our personal anel and s fulfill their mission? >> congressman, that is the most important question, and i would certainly welcome congressional discussion and debate about this, because it's what we tried to do, going back to congresswoman duckworth's question, in the review, the first one ever done, because that's exactly what we're facing. we have had diplomats and
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professionals in war zones now for a number of years. we've had them in places that are incredibly unstable and dangerous because of ongoing conflicts. it is i think the bias of the diplomacy corps that they be there, because that's what they signed up for. and they know that if america is not represented, then we leave a vacuum, and we lose our eyes and our ears about what people are thinking and doing. it is certainly the hardest part of the job in many of our agencies and departments today. and it was for me in the state department. that's why i relied on the security professionals, because by the time i got there in 2009, the diplomatic security professionals had been taking care of american diplomats in iraq, in afghanistan, in pakistan, for years. and they had learned a lot of the lessons.
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and they were forced to make tough decisions all the time. you mentioned peshawar. one of clearly the high threat posts that the united states maintains a presence in. but when you think that since 2001 we've had 100 of our facilities attacked, if we were to shut them all down, if we were to pull out from all of them, we would be blinding ourselves. so it's a constant balancing act. what are the risks and what are the rewards for opening, maintaining, and/or closing a site. i don't know that there's any hard and fast rule that we can adopt. we just have to get better at making that assessment, congressman. and your question really goes to the heart of it. when you were as a member of congress in peshawar, you were regarded by our diplomatic security professionals. they had to assess, is it safe enough for a member of congress
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to come, how do we get him from the airport to the embassy. it won't surprise you to hear we've had attacks there as so many other places around the world. and that is a heavy responsibility. and the diplomatic security professionals get it right 999 times out of a thousand. and it's deeply distressing to them when anything goes wrong. we have lost non-americans with some of these attacks on facilities. we've lost our locally-employed staff. they never want to see any successful attack. they have to be right 100% of the time. the terrorists only have to be right once. and that's why this is really at the core of what i tried to do before even i got the accountability review board, going back to the qddr, to come up with a better way of trying to make those assessments. >> madam secretary, if i may, the bottom line is benghazi, on
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9/11, 2012, was not the only dangerous place in the world where our security personnel were and where these difficult decisions had to be made. >> right. >> the other point, this is 2012 so we were only a couple of years into this, but secretary of defense ash carter just i think yesterday wrote an editorial in the "wall street journal" about the impact of five years of budget uncertainty on the dod's ability to function. for five years we have gone through crs, threatened government shutdowns, one actual government shutdown, and constant budget uncertainty. now, my area is the department of defense. i know how it's impacted them. they basically from one week to the next barely know what they can spend money on. one of the criticisms is that there should have been more security. but if you don't have a budget, if you don't have an appropriations bill, how does that complicate your job as secretary in trying to figure out what money you can spend? >> well, it makes it very
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difficult, congressman. and this is a subject that we talked about all the time, how do you plan. how do you know -- you know, you have so many diplomatic security officers in so many dangerous places. how do you know what you're going to have to be able to deploy, and where are you going to have to make the choices. that's why the prioritization, which shouldn't have to be, in my view, the responsibility of the officials in the state department or the defense department, to try to guess what makes the most sense. we should have a much more orderly process for our budget. i would say again, as secretary of state, the kind of dysfunction and failure to make decisions that we've been living with in our government hurts us. it hurts us in the obvious ways, like where you're going to deploy forces if you're in dod or where are we going to send security if you're in the
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department of state. but it hurts us as the great country that we are, being viewed from an abroad as unable to handle our own business. and so it has a lot of consequences. and it's something that i wish we could get over and have our arguments about policy, have our arguments about substance, but get back to regular order, where we have the greatest nation in the world with a budget that then they can plan against as opposed to the uncertainty that has stalked us now for so long. >> thank you, madam secretary. so the bottom line is congress needs to do its job. >> i agree with that. >> the gentlemen yields back. i'll be happy to get a copy of my opening statement for the gentleman from washington so he can refresh his recollection on all the things our committee found that your committee missed. with that i'll go to mr. westmoreland. >> thank you. madam secretary, i talk a little slower than everybody else. >> i lived in arkansas a long time. i don't need an interpreter,
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congressman. >> some of the questions could just have a yes-or-no answer, that would be great, but i do want you to give us a full answer. mr. smith from washington mentioned there was no new facts brought out in some of these interviews. i want to just say he was at one interview for one hour. i have been at a bunch of those and there has been a lot of new facts that have come out. one of the things he said, that you knew about these two incidents that have been mentioned previously, it's not a matter if you knew about them. it's a matter of what you did about them. and to us, the answer to that is nothing. you say you were briefed by the cia every morning that you were in washington; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> did they ever mention to you assistant acting director
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morrell wrote in his book that there were scores of intelligence pieces describing in detail how the situation in libya was becoming more and more dangerous, did you ever read any of these pieces? >> yes, as i previously stated, we were certainly aware that the situation across libya was becoming more dangerous, and that there were particular concerns about eastern libya. >> did you read the piece that was libya, al qaeda establishing sanctuary? >> i'm aware that was certainly among the information provided to me. >> there was another particular piece that was talked about after the ied attack that apicom wrote. al qaeda expands in lybia. were you familiar with that? >> i can't speak to specific pieces, congressman, but i was
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well aware of the concerns we all had about the setting up of jihadist training camps and other activities in libya, particularly in eastern libya. >> you were briefed, and i think the cia between january and september of 2012, at over 4500 pages of intelligence. were you aware of how many pages of intelligence? and i know you had a specific division, i guess, of the state department under you that was called intelligence and research. >> mm-hmm. >> did they keep you up to speed on all these 400 cables or different things that they were getting? did they keep you up to speed on that, that you were aware of them? >> congressman, i can't speak to specific reports. but i can certainly agree with you that i was briefed and aware of the increasingly dangerous
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upsurge in militant activity in libya. >> and so what did you do to make sure that our men and women over there were protected, knowing how much the threat had grown, especially in benghazi, because a lot of people say that really, in the summer of 2012, the security in benghazi was worse than it was during the revolution. >> well, congressman, with respect to not only the specific incidents that you referenced earlier, i think i stated previously, there was never any recommendation by anyone, the intelligence community, the defense department, the state department officials responsible for libya, to leave benghazi. even after the two incidents
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that you mentioned. because, in part, as i responded to congressman smith, we had so many attacks on facilities that, as i said, went back to 2001, that certainly also happened in other parts of the world while i was there. each was evaluated. and there was not a recommendation. furthermore, there was not even on the morning of september 11th, while chris stevens was at the compound, chris had spoken to our operatives. there was no known intelligence threat against our impound. >> you said that ambassadthe am was pulled out of tripoli because of threats on his life. >> there were threats associated with qaddafi after the
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publication of cables he had written that were made public by wikileaks. >> you say you were aware of the two attacks at the mission facility in benghazi. >> mm-hmm. >> mr. morrell in his book states that there was 20 attacks on that facility. are you familiar with the other 18? >> there were two that we thought rose to the level of being serious. >> were you familiar with the other 18? >> i'm not aware of 18 others. and i would point out, and i am sure that former deputy director morrell made this point when he was testifying, the cia stayed in libya. the cia had a much bigger presence than the state department. despite the overall decline in stability, some might argue actually because of the overall decline in stability, it was thought to be even more important for the cia to stay
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there. and they also did not believe that their facility would be the subject of a deadly attack either, because i think sometimes -- >> ma'am -- >> sometimes the discussion gets pulled together, when really we had chris and sean dying at the state department compound which we are discussing, and we had our other two deaths of tyrone woods and glenn dougherty at the cia annex. >> reclaiming my time for just a minute. i do appreciate that. if you talk to the cia contractors that were at the annex, and you ask them how they were armed and equipped, and then if you would or could talk to the diplomatic security agents that were at the facility, i think you will see that there was a big, big difference in the equipment that they had to protect themselves. but you knew of the two what you
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called major incidents but you don't recollect the other 18 that mr. morrell says happened. how many instances would it have taken you to say, hey, we need to look at the security over there? would it have been three major instances, 30 instances, 40 instances, 50 instances? how many instances would you have been made aware of that would have made you say, hey, i don't care what anybody else says, we're going to protect our people, chris stevens is a good friend of mine, we're going to look after him. >> congressman, of course i made it abundantly clear that we had to do everything we could to protect our people. what i should not as secretary do is substitute my judgment from thousands of miles away for the judgment of the security professionals who made the
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decisions about what kind of security would be provided. >> ma'am -- >> i know that sounds somewhat hard to understand. but, you know, we have a process, and the experts who i have the greatest confidence in and who had been through so many difficult positions, because practical aly all of them had rotated through afghanistan, pakistan, iraq, yemen, other places, they were the ones making the assessment. no one ever came to me and said, we should shut down our compound in benghazi. >> ma'am, i'm not saying shut it down. i'm saying protect it. >> well -- >> i'm not saying shut it down. i'm just saying protect it. >> right. >> when you say security professionals, i'm not trying to be disparaging of anybody, but i don't know who those folks were, but -- >> they were people who risked their lives to try to save -- >> -- when it came to protecting
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people. you said that the mission that you gave ambassador stevens was to investigate the situation. it seems to me he would have to get out into the country to investigate it. i don't know if you're aware of it or not, but there were not even enough diplomatic security for him to leave the compound without asking the cia operatives to assist them. were you aware that? >> well, we had an agreement with the cia to help supplement security and to come to the aid. it was a mutual agreement. >> was that a written agreement? >> no, it was not a written agreement. but we are posted with the cia in many places in the country, in the world. and it's important to have a good working relationship. and we did. and unfortunately, despite all the weapons and despite the
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fortification, two cia contractors died at the cia annex that night. >> just to follow up on one thing about ambassador stevens. you got a lot of e-mails from sidney blumenthal. and you say that mr. bloom ee e blumenthal was a friend of yours and he had your personal e-mail address. you say chris stevens was a personal friend of yours. he asked numerous times for personal protection. i think anybody out there watching this would agree. if i had been mr. stevens and i had had a relationship with you, and i had requested 20 or more times for additional security to protect not only my life but the people that were there with me, i would have gotten in touch with you some way. i would have let you know that i was in danger, and that the
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situation had deteriorated to a point, i needed you to do something. he didn't have your personal e-mail? >> congressman, i do tnot beliee that he had my personal e-mail. he had the e-mail and he had the direct line to everybody that he had worked with for years. he had been posted with officials in the state department. they had gone through difficult, challenging, dangerous assignments together. he was in constant contact with people. yes, he and the people working for him asked for more security. some of those requests were approved. others were not. we're obviously looking to learn what more we could do, because it was not only about benghazi, it was also about the embassy in tripoli. i think it's fair to say that chris asked for what he and his
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people requested because he thought that it would be helpful. but he never said to anybody in the state department you know what, we just can't keep doing this, we just can't stay there. he was in constant contact with, you know, people on my staff, other officials in the state department. and, you know, i did have an opportunity to talk with him about the substance of the policy. but with respect to security, he took those requests where they belonged. he took them to the security professionals. and i have to add, congressman, the diplomatic security professionals are among the best in the world. i would put them up against anybody. and i just cannot allow any comment to be in the record in any way criticizing or disparaging them. they have kept americans safe in two wars and in a lot of other really terrible situations over the last many years. i trusted them with my life.
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you trust them with yours when you're on codels. they deserve better. and they deserve all the support congress can give them because they're doing a really hard job very well. >> ma'am, all i can say is they missed something here. and we lost four americans. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair would recognize the gentleman from kansas. >> madam secretary, you've referred to the qddr a couple of times as being important to diplomatic security; is that correct? >> it provoked a discussion, congressman, about balancing of risk. >> madam secretary, i had a chance to read that. i wanted to read the executive summary that ran 25 pages. but it didn't have a word about diplomatic security. not one word, remaining. then i read the remaining pages. do you know how many pages of those 270 had to do with diplomatic security? >> it was about the balancing of risk and reward, which was not
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only about diplomatic security specifically, but about the larger question of our mission around the world. >> madam secretary, there was no balance. there was no balance. there was two pages out of 270 pages. you talked about a lot of things in there. you talked about a lot of improvements. it didn't have anything to do with diplomatic security in any way in that report. you talked about being disappointed, i've heard you say that several times. why didn't you fire someone? in kansas, madam secretary, i get asked constantly, why has no one been held accountable? how come not a certainly person lost a single paycheck connected to the fact that we had the first ambassador killed since 1979? how come no one has been held accountable to date? >> the review board pointed out several people working in the state department who they thought had not carried out
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their responsibilities adequately. but they said that they could not find a breach of duty. >> yes, ma'am. >> the personnel rules and the laws that govern those decisions were followed very carefully. >> yes, ma'am. i'm not asking what the arb did. i'm asking what you did. >> i followed the law, congressman. that was my responsibility. >> madam secretary, you're telling me you had no authority to take anyone's paycheck, to cause anyone to be fired? you're telling me you were legally prohibited from doing that, is that your position here this morning? >> it is my position that in the absence of finding dereliction or breach of duty, there could not be immediate action taken. but there was a process that was immediately instituted and which led to decisions being made. >> yes, ma'am. the decision was to put these on all back pay, keep them on as employees. that was the decision made as a result of the process you put in place. the folks in kansas don't think
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that is accountability. i want to do some math with you. can i get the first chart, please. do you know how many security requests there were in the first quarter of 2012? >> for everyone, or for benghazi? >> i'm sorry, yes, ma'am, related to benghazi, libya. there were just over a hundred plus. second quarter, do you know how many there were? >> no, i do not. >> ma'am, there were 172-ish. might have been 171 or 173. how many were there in july and august and then in that week and few days before the attacks, do you know? >> there were a number of them, i know that. >> yes, ma'am. 83 by our count. that's over 600 requests. you've testified here this morning that you had none of those reach your desk; is that correct also? >> that's correct. >> madam secretary, mr. blumenthal wrote you 150 e-mails. it appears from the materials we've read that all of those reached your desk. can you tell us why security requests from your professionals, which you just testified and when i agree are
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incredibly professional, capable people, trained in the art of keeping us all safe, none of those made it to you, but a man who was a friend of yours who had never been to libya, didn't know much about it, at least that was his testimony, didn't know much about it, every one of those reports that he sent on to you that had to do with situations on the ground in libya, those made it to your desk. you asked for more of them. you read them. you corresponded with him. and yet the folks that worked for you didn't have the same courtesy. >> well, congressman, as you're aware, he's a friend of mine. he sent me information he thought might be of interest. some of it was, some of it wasn't, some of it i forwarded to be followed up on. the professionals and experts who reviewed it found some of it useful, some of it not. >> madam secretary -- >> he had no official position in the government. and he was not at all my adviser on libya. he was a friend who sent me information that he thought might be in some way helpful.
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>> madam secretary, i have lots of friends. they send me things. i have never had somebody send me pieces of intelligence with the level of detail mr. blumenthal sent every week. that's a special friend. >> it was information that had been shared with him that he forwarded on. and as someone who got the vast majority of the information that i acted on from official channels, i read a lot of articles that brought new ideas to my attention, and occasionally people including him and others would give me ideas. they all went into the same process to be evaluated. >> yes, ma'am. i will tell you that the record we received to date does not reflect that. it simply doesn't. we've read the e-mails. we've read everything we can get our hands on. it's taken us a long time to get it. you just described all this other information you relied upon. it doesn't exhocomport with the record this committee has been able to establish today. i want you to take a look at this chart to the left. you'll see the increasing number of contracts, over 600. i think data matters.
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pictures are worth a lot. you see the increase in the requests, and the bottom line is the increase in security. you'll note that the slope of those two lines is very different. can you account for why that is, why we have an increase in requests yet no increase in security? >> congressman, i can only tell you that i know a number of requests were fulfilled, and some were not. but from my perspective, again, these were handled by the people that were assigned the task of elevating them. and, you know, i think it's important to again reiterate that although there were problems and deficiencies discovered by the accountability review board, the general approach to have security professionals handle security requests i think still stands. >> yes, ma'am. i wish you to listen to those security professionals. you described mr. stevens as having the best knowledge of
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libya of anyone. your words this morning. and yet when he asked for increased security, he didn't get it. may i see the second chart, please. i just talked to you about requests for assistance. i won't go through the numbers in detail. it shows the increasing number of security incidents at the facility, your facility, the state department facility, in benghazi, libya. then again, it shows the increase in security being nonexistent. i assume your answer is the same with respect to the fact that we have increasing security incidents but no corresponding increase in the amount of security? >> congressman, i just have to respectfully disagree. many security requests were fulfilled. we would be happy to get that information for the record. so i can't really tell what it is you're putting on that poster, but i know that a number of the security requests were fulfilled for benbenghazi. >> yes, ma'am. it shows that the security
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agents there before that day and the number on that day is no different. >> congressman, the decision, as i recall, the post, namely embassy tripoli on behalf of benghazi, requested five diplomatic security personnel, and they did have that on the day that chris stevens was in benghazi. unfortunately, that proved insufficient in the face of the kind of attack that they were facing. >> yes, ma'am. let's put the next poster up, please. madam secretary, you're not likely to know who these two folks are, do you? >> i do not. >> the one on the left is a al azawi, head of a jihadist group based in benghazi. the men on your left is be ben hamid. are you aware your folks in


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